Maritime union criticises Hoegh Osaka design style

The design of large car carriers, such as the Hoegh Osaka, has been criticised by a spokesman for a maritime workers’ union

Large car carriers such as the Hoegh Osaka feature an unreasonable design that requires careful management, according to a spokesman for the maritime workers’ union Nautilus International.

Speaking to the BBC over the weekend, Allan Graveson, senior national secretary at Nautilus, said: “‘In reality, these vessels – both vehicle and livestock carriers – are built to the edge of safety for commercial reasons.

“Their design has gone beyond what is reasonable and these ships need a lot of careful management.

“There is manifest failure of the regulator that permits the design and operation of ships in this way. Improvements are required and we hope the investigation will examine the root causes of this incident.” he added.

Nautilus International is one of the largest maritime workers’ unions in the UK and has more than 21,000 members.

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Mr Graveson also praised the “quick thinking and professionalism” of the pilot in averting a catastrophic incident.


The Hoegh Osaka incident, in which a 51,000-tonne car carrier was deliberately beached on Bramble Bank earlier this month, is due to be investigated by the Maritime Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB).

It will take months for the MAIB to compile its report, and the findings are likely to include recommendations for the car shipping industry.

Mr Gravenson’s comments come as salvage firm Svitzer continues its efforts to right the stricken car carrier, which is currently secured at Alpha Anchorage in the Solent.

Over the weekend the Coastguard confirmed that high winds of up to Force 9 had caused the vessel to drag its anchor 100m and collide with one of the three tugs holding it in position.

Deteriorating conditions are likely to hamper salvage efforts even further, with the worst of this week’s weather forecast to hit to Solent on Wednesday night.


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